Whilst much of my writing colours polyamory in a rose tinted light, I am not ignorant of the enormous pain that it might and does bring to many. Those who say my credibility is damaged and that I am stupid because I ignore the obvious pain signals which should prevent me practising polyamory, are only proving their own ignorance about the necessity and role of pain in our lives.
In 2009, Peter Coghlan came on to Britain’s Got Talent, and started performing a belly dance in drag as Mama Trish, an act he’d been performing for 26 years. To Simon Cowell he was a joke. And Simon’s biggest surprise was not that he got through to the semi final, but that he had been with his wife for 36 years.
It was a sign to me, that he and his partner could be committed simply to being their empowered selves. Committed to living and loving in integrity. Allowing each other to follow their own path.
The importance of this is highlighted by research that finds that it is difficult to clearly distinguish between monogamous and non-monogamous people. Like all such polarities they break down when examined closely. Consider Alfred Kinsey and Lisa Diamond’s work on sexuality – both finding that this is a lot more complex than the gay/straight polarity would suggest.
Monogamy is designed to keep couples together by creating barriers of exit; socially; financially and psychologically. One cannot look at the divorce statistics to ascertain how successful it is; this only proves how many couples remain married. Not how many couples remain happily married… Judging by how many marriages now end in divorce since it became more socially acceptable, that’s not many over the long term.
My sister-in-law has a new boyfriend who doesn’t want to meet her ex-husband. Not for a second. Not even to say hello, let alone a coffee. He can’t bear the thought of her having had sex with her ex- (which they obviously did at least twice because they have two children together). This behaviour is perfectly accepted by and large in … Read More
I work on checking and using privilege for good; but let’s also be honest, It is also the product of self-preservation – something which has made man into a consummate survivor. And it’s the ‘how-to’ eradicate it generally outlined, basically involves throwing out the ‘training wheels’, something which challenges the very instinct which protects us.
Unfortunately despite all the good intentions, a minority’s struggle for acceptance will always create a ‘prisoners’ dilemma’ and this one is no different. In the non-monogamous community certain relationship configurations are more likely to be accepted if they align themselves to already existing precepts and/or paradigms.
As we watched and took lessons from the hell that is the monogamous struggle for the perfect relationship, the one and only, I threw up. It wasn’t just the hangover… The reminder of the fear, anxiety, and utter shame I had felt for years from living and trying to live up to a monogamous paradigm was brought up quite literally in the form of the pizza I had eaten at 2am the night before.
One of the most common reactions I’ve had when declaring my plural relationship preference is this. ‘Why can’t you keep it in the bedroom where it belongs?’ They think it’s private business. But it’s only private business if you can practise it freely, happily and without fear of utter condemnation or legal ramifications. Nose picking for example, is ‘private’; Polyamory is not because of the public consequences on those who practise it. It is, by definition, public business.
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